Monday, November 21, 2011

Gracias

My brother and I just got back from Peru. I had always wanted to go to Machu Picchu. It was truly amazing. The Incas (or more correctly the Ketchuans as Incas were only the Kings) really knew what they were doing. Their civilization focused on the stars above...their gods were the Sun and the Moon and the stars.

Machu Picchu was more organised than some of the present day South American cities. Built on top of a hill surrounded by amazing mountains. It was truly the highlight of this journey...more inspiring than the ruins in Turkey or the modern marvels in Rome.

The Ketchuans never wrote anything done...no hieroglyphics were found in Peru. They were more verbal like modern day Latinos..verbalizing their everyday thoughts. Could explain why I’m so verbal! I like to think that I have a bit of Ketchuan in me..their civilization did stretch all the way to Colombia.

I’m back in Bogota with two more days before I head to the USA for Thanksgiving. This is one of my favourite holidays. Not because of the sales or the food..but for the fact that you stop and give thanks...for what you have...who you have....in your life.

I’ve been distressing things these last few months...terrible poverty in Africa, despair in South America..orphans in Colombia and violent protest in Argentina. There is so much inequality on earth...why do some have so much..others so little..some of us can change and improve our lives...others do not have access or tools to change our status.

I am so thankful for this journey..no matter what happens...or how much I invested..it has been the best thing I ever did in my life. The best investment...in me and life changing...this journey may change where I live and what I do in the future. The friendships and memories..will really last a lifetime..even if I lost all my pictures from Peru...I left my camera in a taxi in Lima!

No matter where I go...though..there are some common themes..that search for connection, meaning and happiness. It is reassuring in many ways that even though we are separated and divided by language, race, religion, gender, customs...there are some unique values that bind us as human beings...and sometimes you find common ground through humour or a hug.

USA, South Africa and India. Next stops...the journey and the year are coming to an end soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time

It is the middle of November. Where has this year gone. Time never stands still. I am also done with my journey. It has been an amazing six months filled with new people, adventures a lot of food. Have I found what I am looking for? possibly. I have found myself. India and the USA remain.

I can see the end though. I can’t be the traveller forever. At some point, I will need to settle down, get a job, buy a house and live like everyone else. But I will always be better for it, for jumping into the unknown..packing a suitcase and traveling around the world. I’ll have no regrets...

I still believe something wonderful is just around the corner? a new love? a new job? a new city to explore...and many friendships to be made. The trip was not cheap but it was certainly an investment in myself. I read somewhere that the happiest people in the world were the ones that invested in themselves (education, travel, new car) not the ones who held cash in the bank or stocks in the market. Maybe I am just trying to rationalise it all.

I feel like my mission here in Colombia has been accomplished. I came to reconnect with my family and I have...I have realised that you can never really disconnect from family. They are always there...even if you are not around. I’ve realised the importance of family in my life.

I’m off to Peru tomorrow to Machu Picchu the land of my ancestors. Well...I guess they could really be all of our ancestors. I hear there is amazing positive energy around Machu Picchu, similar to that experienced at the Pyramids in Egypt. I am going with my brother. We have not travelled in a while and this is an opportunity to bond and have our own unique experience. Time has not stood still. My brother is no longer my baby brother...he’s got a serious job, a mortgage and a girlfriend. He’s a man who I have not spent time with in a long while.

Time never stands still even when you are traveling back in time...so make each second count and do what you want to do tomorrow today. You never know if tomorrow will come.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We are family

They say you cannot pick your family or your sexuality. After many years of not being happy with either, I feel that I am comfortable with both. I would not change either....It is month six of my amazing adventure. So much has happened, it is hard to find the time to write. I partied in London, swam in Turkey, studied Italian and drank delicious South African wine in Cape Town.

I am in Bogota now, the city of my birth. My father and my brother live here. My father is getting older and is ill. I wanted to spend a good month here. I find it really important to be in touch with my roots...my history. I’m an avid history fan. To me history is like one of those amazing stories that your grandfather tells you at dinner time.

When I was young, the lights would go out in Colombia. There still are electricity shortages at times. My father or grandfather would tell us stories about their youth...how they were very poor (everyone in Colombia was poor in the old days) and how they came from the country to the big city to find work. Both my father and grandfather were self made men..who had little schooling but managed to have their own businesses and do well.

I spent an afternoon with my grandmother who is 82 trying to trace back our family line. So much has changed in her generation. She now uses her mobile phone and still lives alone. She’s adapted to society - she was the type of person who used to look down on women who lived with their boyfriends before marriage. Now, she’s open to having a gay grandson and having grandchildren who have children without getting married. Times changed and she has changed with it.

I went out with grandmother the other day. We went for dinner and to drink wine. She’s so wise and never misses anything. She has been widowed since my grandfather died a few years ago, but she seems content and happy being alone. She married very young and raised six kids, never really had anytime for herself. After she cared for her children, she cared for my grandfather who had al. What a remarkable woman...a real inspiration...and someone who loves me and supports me unconditionally.

I never know how far I can push the boundaries with grandma. We never talk about boys or sex...but every once in a while she’s make a joke or comment...and I’ll think..she definitely knows what is going on....I think she reads Cosmopolitan.

I hope she’ll live for a long time. The clock is ticking and living abroad away from family makes me miss them even more. I’m trying to cherish each and every moment.